Q: “I came across your podcasts several months ago and have since been an avid listener. I have a request/suggestion for a topic that comes from a bit of recent personal experience. I have around 10+ years of track day experience and started rental kart racing this year. My car control and vision has improved greatly. I am qualifying and lapping quite decently (P1-P4 usually), but my race results have been very inconsistent. I am far less experienced with racing and I’ve found myself unknowingly putting myself in committed situations/lines that may result in contact when making a pass or defending. I think it’s part impatience/not knowing when to concede, part being off my line, and part not anticipating other drivers lines. Would it be possible to cover some of these concepts in one of your podcasts and perhaps divulge some exercises I and others can do to improve the bumper-to-bumper aspect of my driving?”
A: Great suggestion. I’ll think about who would be the best guest to have that type of conversation with. As you can imagine, talking about it and actually doing it are two different things, so there will be limits to what we can cover in a podcast.
By the way, I have a webinar all about racecraft, so that’s something you might be interested in. Take a look at the https://speedsecrets.com/webinars/ page for the Improve Your Racecraft webinar.
Some of what you’re asking about can only be learned completely through experience, so keep racing as much as you can. And take time after each race to think through how you would handle each situation differently the next time. A lot of the learning can be done mentally, through visualization, too.
Between taking time to recall, think through, and then mentally replay various scenarios that happened on track after an event, and then visualizing what you’d do the next time, you can learn and improve a lot without ever being on track. Hey, do some daydreaming! Again, it’s all gaining experience.
Think about it. How do you learn? Through experience, right? But since track driving is so expensive, you need to get some of the experience when you’re not on track. Your brain cannot tell the difference between a real and an imagined event (to prove it to yourself, take time to close your eyes and imagine every little detail about a bright, yellow lemon – the shape of it, the texture of the skin, the color, how it would smell if you cut it in half, what the juices would feel like dripping down your hand if you squeezed it, and what it would taste like when you licked the face of the cut lemon). Use your imagination to play different scenarios through in your mind. Practice and learn in your mind.
Finally, the difference between good racers and great racers (those who have great racecraft) is the mindset. I created a video (The Racer’s Mindset) demonstrating this – you can view it here. I think you’ll get a lot out of it.